Tuesday practice report: WKU taking time off during bye week

Zach Greenwell

I just got in from WKU’s Tuesday practice, which is the only one of the week open to the media during the team’s bye week.

The Toppers will have a shortened practice Wednesday and will then take Thursday, Friday and Saturday off.

Head Coach Willie Taggart said this week is a good time to give several guys the chance to heal nagging injuries, but he also doesn’t want the Toppers to view the week as a vacation.

“This off week is going to test the character of our football team,” Taggart said. “I’m going to get emotionally hijacked if I come out here and see guys take a day off. We’re going to work and get better because we haven’t done anything yet.”

Several players sat out of practice today, including junior running back Bobby Rainey and junior defensive end Jared Clendenin. Junior safeties Ryan Beard and Mark Santoro and offensive lineman Mychal Patterson were also still out.

Taggart said guys like Rainey and Clendenin were just taking advantage of the extra time to heal minor injuries, and the others are still working toward getting back for WKU’s game at Florida International on Oct. 9.

-Just because the Toppers have this week off doesn’t mean I will.

The Herald will still have plenty of football coverage in Friday’s Topper Extra, and I’ll also have more from today’s practice — from both coaches and players — later in the week on the site, so be looking for that.

A few other snippets from today’s practice:

— Junior kicker Casey Tinius continued to have some problems making field goals at the end of practice. Some of his tries missed badly, although he did end on a solid make from a pretty long distance.

— Defensive Coordinator Clint Bowen was not happy with the defense’s effort on Tuesday, and he said that he also had to take his players down a notch after Saturday’s game.

Bowen said that although it might surprise people, he believes WKU actually played better defensively against Indiana because of the way it was able to stop the run.

The Toppers gave up 226 rushing yards at South Florida.

“I don’t think there’s anyone on our side of the ball who has thoughts that I’m happy with what happened on Saturday,” Bowen said. “When we walked into the meeting after the game, I kind of had a sense that these guys felt that they’d accomplished something.

“Getting better is an accomplishment, but this is serious business in Division I football. Our job is to go out and stop people … and if they get in the endzone, we’re not doing our job.”

— Taggart said he will use the break at the end of the week to go do some recruiting work, as will many of the assistant coaches on staff.

“A lot of us will be going out at the end of the week,” he said. “We’re going to get on the road and try to find us some players.”